Ohio Jail Guards Plead Guilty in Beating of Mentally Ill Inmate

Ohio Jail Guards Plead Guilty in Beating of Mentally Ill Inmate

Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Jail is already one of the most notorious facilities in the country. Last year, six inmates died there in four months. A total of eight inmates died in the jail in 2018. On October 15, two jail guards, Nicholas Evans, 35, and Timothy Dugan, 40, pleaded guilty to strapping a mentally ill inmate to a chair in March and beating him. 

Evans pleaded guilty not only to felony assault but also to tampering with evidence, as he shut off his body camera before beating the inmate in the face. Both are third-degree felonies. Dugan pleaded guilty to first-degree misdemeanor assault and fourth-degree attempted abduction. The men are scheduled for sentencing on December 12, and both have agreed to resign from their positions before then. 

Evans is facing up to six years in prison on both charges, while Dugan faces up to two years in prison. There was no internal discipline on the part of the county with either correction officer. Instead, after charges were filed, the county put the men on unpaid leave. 

Jail Surveillance Video

Evans may have thought he was covering his tracks by turning off his body camera, but the entire incident was recorded by jail surveillance video. The jailhouse camera caught Evans punching the inmate, Terrence Dubose, six times, while Dugan hit him twice. 

The video shows Debose wheeled into the room, his arms strapped to a chair. His mouth is covered, and there is a blanket on his lap. Debose is seen talking to  Evans. At that point, Evan begins hitting Debose, and Dugan then comes over and hits him. The scene is especially horrific because Debose is tied down and cannot defend himself. 

Debose, 47, was known to both guards as suffering from mental illness. He was in the jail at the time of the attack on cocaine possession and evidence tampering charges. He was later indicted on charges of felonious assault, theft, and aggravated burglary.  Debose was later sentenced to two years’ probation and is required to submit to a doctor’s treatment plan and attend mental health counseling sessions.  

More Cases Pending

While cases against six other jail current or former jail employees remain pending for attacks against other inmates, others have been partly determined. The former warden, Eric Ivey, pleaded guilty to obstructing the investigation of an inmate overdose death in August 2018. Ivey received probation, and as part of his plea agreement, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors regarding other case investigations.

On September 25, two corrections officers were partially acquitted by a jury in a case where the guards were alleged to have attacked an inmate, and then stopped the inmate from receiving medical care afterwards. A mistrial was declared after the jury deadlocked, and prosecutors plan to pursue another trial. 

The pending cases include a jail officer accused of ignoring the overdosing inmate as he died, two corrections officers charged with participation in a drug and contraband smuggling ring associated with a local gang, and two guards accused of spraying a female inmate in the face with pepper spray while she was strapped into a restraint chair. To date, all of those charged have pleaded not guilty.  

Inmates have the right not to be abused. If you or a loved one has suffered mistreatment in jail or prison, you have legal options and may be entitled to compensation. CALL US at 866.836.4684 or Connect Online to learn how we can help you file a federal civil rights lawsuit.


Related topics: civil rights (40) | inmate death (52) | jail brutality (8)

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